The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday approved a new congressional-district map for Arizona, erasing any lingering questions about which geographic areas candidates will run this fall. The OK comes as candidates have already largely embraced the map, which the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission created in January. It reconfigures congressional-district lines to reflect population changes documented by the 2010 census. It also adds a ninth district, the result of population growth over the last decade. The approval means the redistricting commission met its goal to get federal approval the first time it submitted a map. Arizona needs Justice Department pre-clearance for any election-law changes because of past problems with the federal Voting Rights Act, which is designed to protect minority voting rights. “One down, one to go,” said Ray Bladine, the commission’s executive director.
The one-page letter was straightforward, saying it found no objections to the map. However, Thomas Perez, an assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, said the approval does not prevent any lawsuits that might arise from the new map.
There has been little talk of litigation over the congressional map. House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, is trying to drum up interest in suing over the yet-to-be-approved state legislative map. The Justice Department is due to respond to the legislative map by April 30.
Full Article: Arizona congressional district map clears U.S. review.